420chan now has a web-based IRC client available, right here
Leave these fields empty (spam trap):
Name
You can leave this blank to post anonymously, or you can create a Tripcode by using the float Name#Password
Comment
[*]Italic Text[/*]
[**]Bold Text[/**]
[~]Taimapedia Article[/~]
[%]Spoiler Text[/%]
>Highlight/Quote Text
[pre]Preformatted & Monospace text[/pre]
1. Numbered lists become ordered lists
* Bulleted lists become unordered lists
File

Sandwich


Community Updates

420chan now supports HTTPS! If you find any issues, you may report them in this thread
Possession of Paraphernalia by Lillian Sanninghore - Fri, 12 Jan 2018 11:34:04 EST ID:PdoeF1dV No.46052 Ignore Report Quick Reply
File: 1515774844570.jpg -(39955B / 39.02KB, 340x270) Thumbnail displayed, click image for full size. 39955
1 misdemeanor charge in Florida, plead "not guilty," non-jury trial court date on 1/30/2018 without a lawyer

As a disclaimer, I understand that 420chan is not the "ideal" place to go for legal advice, so there's no need for explaining that in the comments. I'm simply stating my story here as a place to vent as well as the opportunity to get perspectives from people who may have had similar experiences, but please feel free to give me your legal opinions, especially if you have experience with similar charges; in fact, I'd greatly appreciate it. In addition to this post, I've been doing what I can to research and ask around town for free legal advice.

It started with my friend (driver) and I (passenger) running hours late to a concert we had purchased tickets for. He picked me up and in a rush, made an illegal U-turn and ran a stop sign on the college campus where I attend and live in a dorm. A campus police officer that we didn't see parked to the side immediately pulled us over before we even got off campus.

While my friend was gathering his 'license and registration' documents to hand over to the police officer, he shone his flashlight in the car and saw in the cup holder a glass bowl (caked with residue) and a single-chamber, black, plastic grinder. He then did not ask us or give us a reason why, but simply told us to step out of the vehicle, which we did. There had been no smoking of or smell or marijuana in or around the car at this time. I'm assuming his "reasonable suspicion" was having seen the glass bowl/grinder, but I'm concerned that him seeing that in the cup holder is not sufficient cause for reasonable suspicion to search the car. Those items could very well have been used for tobacco products; he wouldn't have known that they were used for marijuana before searching the car, so how did he have grounds?

He then conducted a somewhat thorough search of the vehicle, including the trunk. He found five pieces of my friend's paraphernalia that he charged him with and that he admitted to being his. They were in a decorative box which had sentimental value and was not inherently illegal on its own, but the officer took that as well.

He then approached me with a RAW rolling machine and pack of Juicy Jay papers and asked me if they were mine because they were on my side of the car. I admitted that, yes they're mine, because I thought, why lie? He asked me why I didn't tell him about the items before the search, and I said because these items are not inherently illegal on their own. I use them to roll perfectly legal tobacco cigarettes. I believe he asked me if it had ever been used to roll marijuana before, and I answered that it probably had, but no time recently, especially not that day. I was, of course, unaware that at this point my friend, who had clearly been in the majority of the possession, being that it was his car, had admitted to ownership of all potentially illegal items in the car, including the roller and papers that were on my side. But being that the items are not illegal and used for tobacco, I saw no reason to lie or foresee that my friend would say items that were mine were his.

The police officer gave us both "written arrests" for Possession of Paraphernalia. We had the same first arraignment in court, where my friend was approved for the "misdemeanor intervention program" (MIP), which is slightly less serious but similar to probation, and which results in your charges being "nolo contendre;" the case essentially being dismissed upon successful completion. When applying for and being accepted into the "MIP," the court uses vague language which makes the defendant think that their case is entirely dropped and erased upon completion. Only when the program is completed and you receive a "disposition" document stating your case has been closed can you then apply for sealing/expungement of your charges.

I know this because I have done it once before, about 3 years ago, in the same county, for somewhat similar charges, including the successful MIP and even sealing of my record. So, when I had my first arraingment for this case, my sealed record was not immediately accessible information to them. It was only when I applied for the MIP the second time around that I was rejected and it was discovered the reason why is because I had a sealed case and completed MIP in the past.

Instead of being given a formal document stating the reason for the MIP rejection, I was simply given a new court date to appear to, so technically my second arraignment. For this, I applied for and was appointed the affordable public defender. At first, her advice was to plead "not guilty" due to the lack of evidence and very short arrest report. When we discussed the reason for my MIP rejection and she realized I have a sealed record, she changed her mind and advised me to plead "no contest" a second time, which would have resulted in the withhold of adjudication and being required to simply pay all court costs, while the charge remains on my record.

In the "heat of the moment," I suppose, I decided to change my mind on the stand and plead "not guilty." The judge then gave me a time and date to return for my non-jury trial hearing and unappointed the entire Office of the Public Defender from my case. Upon inquiring why that was, the public defender told me it was because it has already been indicated that regardless of the outcome, jail or probation time will not be pursued.

Since then, I have been researching all the "free student legal aid" resources I can find and some attorneys have been nice enough to give me their opinions or consultations for free. Some of them were adamant that I should hire a lawyer but others sounded like they had a glimmer of hope for me and said I have an "interesting" case. Most of them just wished me the best of luck, though.
>>
Lillian Sanninghore - Fri, 12 Jan 2018 11:34:41 EST ID:PdoeF1dV No.46053 Ignore Report Quick Reply
So there it is, I'm going in alone. My friend who essentially caused all of this is no help in terms of being a character witness or any of that. One of the free opinions I got directed me to find copies of the "Copy of Discovery" or essentially the Police Report to the State Attorney, which could give me information to cross-examine the officer with, if he even shows up to the court date. Part of me definitely hopes this isn't worth his time to even show up, but part of me realizes it's unrealistic to count on that.

If he does show up, I'll have to argue: a violation of my Fourth Amendment rights, the idea that all of the paraphernalia he assumed was for marijuana was for tobacco and so he did not have grounds for reasonable suspicion, rendering his "evidence" illegally obtained. (Walker vs. State of Florida states While a law enforcement officer may temporarily detain a person for investigation under circumstances reasonably indicating that the person has committed, is committing, or is about to commit a crime, the detention cannot be based upon mere suspicion of criminal activity. To justify temporary detention, the officer must have a “founded suspicion” based upon factual observations in light of his knowledge and experience. Mere suspicion, on the other hand, is no better than random selection, sheer guesswork, or hunch. The state has failed to prove the third element of the plain view doctrine – “immediately apparent that the object is evidence of a crime.” The mere observation of a portion of pipe, without more, cannot constitute probable cause because it could be a tobacco pipe or other lawful object. Another pipe in plain view case standing for the notion that “we do not find the pipe alone could constitute probable cause to arrest for possession of paraphernalia. Because pipes are used to smoke materials other than drugs, they are not contraband per se.” Seizure of a weapon or other evidence of a criminal offense found during the search is permissible only if the officer reasonably believes that the object sought to be seized is a weapon. A search may not be validated by what it produces.) Or the logic behind arresting me for tobacco products. Or I could pussy out and just change my mind back to the "no contest" and keep the charge on my record, which is essentially what I'm trying to avoid.

Well, I suppose that's enough word vomit for one day. It feels better to just get all your thoughts in one place. Tell me what you think, without passing judgement and what I did wrong and how I could have done it differently. I can't change it now, I just have to go forward from here. Thanks! :)
>>
Graham Gammlewill - Sat, 13 Jan 2018 12:23:17 EST ID:8pfWhsyK No.46056 Ignore Report Quick Reply
dress nice, with long sleeve shirt and tie. act respectful.
>>
Dextrolord - Sun, 14 Jan 2018 20:32:34 EST ID:UvVhSC/Y No.46058 Ignore Report Quick Reply
1515979954627.jpg -(97197B / 94.92KB, 600x435) Thumbnail displayed, click image for full size.
>>46052
Didn't really read your whole post tbh.. but I got snagged last July car hopping and my sentencing isn't until late March so it could drag on awhile.

As for my arraignment a few days after Xmas, idk what I was on, probly h or xans cuz I remember next to nothing besides a few yes, your honors and my lawyer saying I did very well.

So basically just dress nice, be VERY respectful to the judge, and know what you're gonna say beforehand. And it should all go fine, just fine


Report Post
Reason
Note
Please be descriptive with report notes,
this helps staff resolve issues quicker.